Past Honorees

2013 HRA Honorees

  • 2013 Human Rights Awards Honoree – Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky began teaching linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1955, revolutionizing the scientific study of language.  He is perhaps best known as a US political theorist, writer and activist, internationally recognized as one of the most critically engaged public intellectuals alive today.  His insightful and sharp analysis of corporate capitalism reveals the underpinnings of class warfare.  His searing critique of U.S. military interventions, support for undemocratic regimes, its foreign policy and ambitions for geopolitical dominance has educated, challenged, and inspired millions for over 50 years, making him both a controversial and beloved figure for social change.

  • 2013 Grassroots Award Honoree – Crystal Lameman, member of the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation.

With infectious dedication and passion, Crystal is fighting for her community and land, for the rights of First Nations in Canada and to stop the tar sands. She says, “It is my obligation as a mother, my obligation to my ancestors to ensure we have our rights respected. It’s my obligation to my future generations and most of all to our own true mother — something each and every one of us in here has in common. That obligation can never be surrendered.”

  • 2013 People’s Choice Award — Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

Wikileaks is a valuable tool for human rights activists the world over. Wikileaks helps whistle blowers bring forth information that is vital to public debate and have helped push stories hidden by secretive governments or ignored by corporate oriented media to the fore.

2012 HRA Honorees

  • Human Rights Award Winner – Annie Leonard

Annie-LeonardAnnie Leonard has spent more than 20 years investigating the factories where our stuff is made and the dumps where our mountains of waste are sent throughout the world. Her firsthand experience witnessing the impacts of over – and under-consumption across the globe motivated her to take action to transform our social, economic and industrial systems. In the last five years, she has created several more films that tackle the most pressing issues of our society and economy today including the Story of Cap & Trade, the Story of Bottled Water, and her most well-known film, the Story of Stuff.

  • People’s Choice Award – Chelsea Manning

Motion Hearing Held In Bradley Manning CaseIt takes great courage to stand for what you know is right. Chelsea Manning, a 25-year- old Army intelligence analyst, joined the Army at age 19. Before deploying to Iraq, when a friend asked that she “stay safe”, Chelsea replied, “I’m more concerned about making sure
that everyone: soldiers, marines, contractors, even the local nationals, get home to their families”. On August 31, 2013, Manning was sentenced to 35 years in a military prison for her role in leaking classified military materials to Wikileaks. These documents, including diplomatic cables and videos, are widely credited with helping to spur the Arab Spring and other sweeping changes throughout the globe.

2011 HRA Honorees

  • International – Pablo Solón

UN Ambassador Pablo Solon began his career not as a diplomat, but as a tireless social activist working with indigenous movements, workers’ unions, student associations, human rights and cultural organizations in Bolivia. As a visionary and the leading voice inside the United Nations for the Rights of Nature — a paradigm-shifting solution to climate change that puts the needs of people and planet first —he works towards the official introduction and adoption of The Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.

  • Domestic – Wilma Subra

Following the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico resulting from the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, Wilma Subra has been on the frontlines of the struggle for truth, applying her thirty years of experience in the fields of chemistry and microbiology.  Working for years in an advisory role to the EPA and in collaboration with organizations like the Louisiana Environmental Action network, her commitment has aided and defended communities in opposition to harmful gas and oil industries throughout the Gulf and around the country.

  • People’s Choice – Javier Sicilia

Javier Sicilia is one of an unprecedented number of Mexicans who have received international recognition during the last year for their courageous work on behalf of migrants, workers, and the millions of victims of the country’s spiraling violence, institutional decomposition and appalling inequality

2010 HRA Honorees

  • International – Raúl del Águila

Raúl del Águila is a pioneer in Fair Trade, sustainability, and human rights. For the past 14 years Mr. del Águila has been the President of the CLAC (Coordinadora Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Comercio Justo), an organization assisting in the coordination and collaboration of over 200,000 Fair Trade cooperative-type organizations of small producers in Latin America and the Caribbean.

  • Domestic – Van Jones

Van Jones is a globally recognized, award-winning pioneer in human rights and the clean energy economy. As a tireless advocate for disadvantaged people and the environment, Van emphasizes that work, innovation and entrepreneurship in the clean energy sector are the keys to solving our nation’s economic and environmental problems.

  • People’s Choice – Mu Sochua

For more than 25 years, Mu Sochua has been a leading human rights advocate. She has worked forcefully to prioritize women’s issues in the wake of Cambodia’s decades of tragedy. Joining with local and international actors, she has been working to stop human trafficking, child abuse, domestic violence, worker exploitation, corruption, and government oppression.

2009 Human Rights Heroes (online/stay home event)

  • Human Rights Heroes at Home Economic Justice Honoree – Abel Barrera, Tlachinollan Human Rights Center

Tlachinollan played a key role in a national coalition of rights groups helping indigenous communities to stop the construction of the La Parota hydroelectric dam, which would have flooded approximately 41,000 acres of land, displacing 25,000 poor farmers and indigenous people with no genuine opportunity for their participation in the decision to build the dam.

  • Human Rights Heroes at Home Green Alternatives Honoree – People’s Grocery

People’s Grocery is a health and wealth organization – their mission is to improve the health and economy of West Oakland through the local food system. They pursue positive community change and address social determinants of health through a food lens. They work to ensure that community self-determination plays a large part in the revitalization of low-income neighborhoods.

  • Human Rights Heroes at Home Peace Honoree – Samina Faheem Sundas

Founder of American Muslim Voice, her work undermines reactionary ignorance and violence with empathy and compassion, including building lifelong bonds between Muslims and people of all communities

2008 HRA Honorees

-Global Exchange did not host a Human Rights Awards in 2008. We held a  20th Anniversary Party celebration.

2007 HRA Honorees

  • International Human Rights Award: David Suzuki

Dr. David Takayoshi Suzuki, CC, OBC, Ph.D (born March 24, 1936), is a Canadian geneticist who has attained prominence as a science broadcaster and an environmental activist. Since the mid 1970s, Suzuki’s TV and radio series and books have sought to educate in an engaging way about nature and the environment. He is best known as host of the popular and long-running CBC TV science magazine, The Nature of Things, seen in syndication in over 40 nations.

  • Domestic Human Rights Award: Alice Walker

Since her 2007 Human Rights Awards honor, Alice Walker has not ceased in her efforts to protect basic rights, both domestically and globally.  In December of 2009, she joined peace activists from around the world in the Gaza Freedom March, an historic initiative aimed at breaking the siege of Gaza in a non-violent, mass march to the Israeli border.

2006 HRA Honorees

  • International Human Rights Award: Eduardo Galeano

Best known for his novels Memoria del fuego and Las vena abiertas de America Latina, Mr. Galeano is credited for inspiring the rise of progressive politics in Latin America. Considered to be “the single most important literary voice to come out Latin America in the last decades,” Mr. Galeano has created a powerful advocacy mechanism through his writing to work against human rights violations and to express his discontent with the historical and current exploitation of Latin America’s people and land.

  • Domestic Human Rights Award: Cindy Sheehan and Gold Star Families for Peace

Cindy SheehanSheehan is an American anti-war activist whose son, U.S. Army Specialist Casey Sheehan, was killed by enemy action during the Iraq War. She attracted national and international media attention in August 2005 for her extended anti-war protest at a makeshift camp outside President George W. Bush’s Texas ranch—a stand that drew both passionate support and angry criticism.

  • Community Builder Award: Malik Rahim

MalikMalik Rahim, born and raised in New Orleans’ Algiers neighborhood, has worked as an organizer for decades around housing and prison issues. During Hurricane Katrina, Malik stayed to assist the community and has been speaking out about racism and the failures of government exposed by the Katrina disaster.

2005 HRA Honorees

  • International Human Rights Award: Dr. Paul Farmer

Medical anthropologist and physician, Paul Farmer has dedicated his life to serving some of the world’s poorest populations, all the while advocating tirelessly for healthcare as a basic human right. The organization Paul cofounded, Partners in Health, began in Haiti as a community health project and has grown to become a global organization focused on providing healthcare to the world’s poorest populations.  Following the devastating earthquake in January of 2010, he has been deeply involved in the recovery effort in Haiti.

  • Domestic Human Rights Award: Center for Constitutional Rights

CCRThe Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

  • Young Leader Award: Camilo Mejia

~CamiloMejiaA Nicaraguan American, Camilo Mejia served in the National Guard to fulfill his American Dream but was then deployed to an unjust war. After his first tour in Iraq, he refused to return to Iraq. The US Military convicted him of desertion, the charge that can be punishable by death. He was later sentenced to one year in person. He is now known for his activism towards fighting against the middle eastern wars and continues to do so.

2004 HRA Honorees

  • International Human Rights Award: Via Campesina

via-campesinaAn international movement which coordinates peasant organizations of small and middle-scale producers, agricultural workers, rural women, and indigenous communities from Asia, Africa, America, and Europe”. It is a coalition of over 148 organizations, advocating family-farm-based sustainable agriculture and was the group that first coined the term “food sovereignty”.

  • Domestic Human Rights Award: Harry Belafonte

In public speaking engagements, interviews, and through any available medium, Harry Belafonte hasn’t stopped spreading the word about oppression, war profiteering, and government invasion of privacy.  Throughout the Bush years, he engaged in public and tireless criticism of the policies of the administration, refusing to stay silent.  Though the administration has changed, Harry Belafonte hasn’t—his criticism of injustice remains as fierce as ever.

  • Code Pink Women of Peace Award: Diane Wilson

When Diane Wilson, fourth-generation shrimp-boat captain and mother of five, learns that she lives in the most polluted county in the United States, she decided to fight back. She launched a campaign against a multibillion-dollar corporation that has been covering up spills, silencing workers, flouting the EPA, and dumping lethal ethylene dichloride and vinyl chloride into the bays along her beloved Texas Gulf Coast.

2003 HRA Honorees

  • International Human Rights Award: Dr. Azmi Bishara

azmiWorks towards the struggle for national rights and democracy into one political program, supporting the right of Arabs living in Israel to run their own cultural affairs and the right of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza to live in an independent Palestinian state.

  • Domestic Human Rights Award: Fr. Louis Vitale

A Franciscan priest who served as the provincial of the California Franciscan Friars from 1979 to 1988, he co-founded the Nevada Desert Experience and its enduring movement to end nuclear testing.
For many years Louie has engaged in nonviolent action for justice and peace.

  • Women of Peace “Special Recognition”- Arundhati Roy, Bianca Jagger, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Kathy Kelly

Arundhati

2002 HRA Honorees

  • Domestic Honoree: California Rural Assistance Fund

The_CRLA_LogoFounded in 1966, the CRLA works for economic justice and human rights on behalf of California’s rural poor. The Fund’s work has wide reach,  impacting millions of low-income individuals, improving conditions for farm workers, new immigrants, single parents, school children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and entire communities.

  • International Honoree: Digna Ochoa (posthumously)

ochoaDigna Ochoa worked tirelessly to safeguard the human rights of Mexico’s most vulnerable. She began working with labor and opposition groups in the 1980s, leading her to face numerous threats on her life. Despite the attempts at intimidation, Digna Ochoa continued her work, frequently exposing the corruption and violence in government institutions like the State Police and Army. In 2001, Sra. Ochoa was assassinated in Mexico City.

2001 HRA Honorees

  • Domestic Honoree: Michael Franti

107976-michael_franti_617_409Franti is an American composer, poet, singer, and songwriter, creator and lead vocalist of Michael Franti and Spearhead. He is also an outspoken supporter for a wide spectrum of peace and social justice issues. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, Franti worked with Global Exchange to launch Hate Free Communities, an initiative aimed at countering anti-Arab discrimination. Franti has also spoken out against the Iraq War, and in support of Palestinians.

  • International Honoree: Mynor Melgar

Mynor-Melgar-director-Dicri-archivo_PREIMA20100830_0024_5Mynor Melgar is a Guatemalan human rights lawyer who has worked on a number of prominent cases, including the murder of human rights advocate Bishop Juan José Gerardi and slain anthropologist Myrna Mack. He is a frequent lecturer on the broader context under which human rights violations have occurred in Latin America, with an emphasis on the role of the state-sanctioned violence in Cold-War and post Cold-War era conflicts.